Awakening Heart Counselling
© Kim O'Leary, MPS, RSW, RCC

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A designation of BC Association 
of Clinical Counsellors

ABOUT KIM

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
-T.S. Elliot

My journey into counselling and healing work began over 30 years ago. Since that time I have been actively engaged in ongoing learning and training to effectively and compassionately work with individuals across the adult life span. I hold a deep respect for the relationship between creativity, healing and spirituality, and refer to my own journey as an awakening heart.

 

I live in Victoria where I have a private practice that allows me the privilege to work with others to support their own personal learning and transformation. My life and work experience has taught me to never give up and that we as human beings have an amazing capacity to grow, change and live the fullest lives possible. I believe this journey starts within and from there we connect outward to our world around us. What I also have come to know and accept from within the depths of my being, is we do not do this alone!

Professional Affiliations
  • Registered Social Worker (RSW) with the BC College of Social Work # 10421

  • Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors

  • Registered Art Therapist (RCAT) with the Canadian Art Therapy Association

  • Certified Hakomi Therapist (CHT) with the Hakomi Institute

  • Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) with the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute

My work in the helping field first began in the area of Child & Youth Care. I completed a diploma in this field of study at Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton Alberta. I worked for 10 years learning and meeting children and adolescents from a range of background and life experiences. Through this decade I honed my skills in strength-based perspectives and behavioral therapy, and recognized the absolute necessity of the therapeutic relationship. My mentors taught me about understanding the world of the children and adolescents, as well as the importance of working with the family or key adults in the youth’s life. It was during this time that I discovered art therapy, systems perspectives and family therapy approaches. My interest expanded to a broader context of understanding and I returned to school.

 

I completed my Bachelor of Social Work at Carleton University. My Social Work training and experience provided me with the understanding of the person in their environment. As a Social Worker I had the opportunity to work with children and families facing challenges related to economic, social and emotional barriers. Again, I was shown that ‘relationship’ is key to our healing and to transformative change at the individual and societal level.

 

In the 20 years of working with individuals and groups addressing issues related to anxiety, life transitions, trauma, abuse, grief and addictions I was inspired by their courage and strength. However, I felt that something key was missing from the work I was doing. This ‘hunger’ lead me to fully explore, study, experience and work from and integrated somatic psychotherapy perspective. I completed a Master’s in Psychotherapy & Spirituality with a Specialization in Art Therapy. I spent the next 10 years studying and integrating the practice of mindfulness body centred therapy (Hakomi), a neurophysiological approach to trauma resolution (Somatic Experiencing) and Somatic Touch in Trauma Solution.

 

As indicated in T.S. Elliot’s earlier quote, I know that my own exploration has not yet ended. I find I have come full circle and yet it feels as though I am truly seeing this place of working with others for the first time from a renewed place of compassion, strength and integration of my 30 years of life experience and professional training.

 

In late 2011, I could no longer resist the mystical call of the ocean, and my partner and I bid farewell to the community we called home for 30 years and moved to Victoria. I find solace in the rhythmic motion of the sea, the view of the mountains and the abundance of plants and flowers. Life transitions, take time and can have unexpected detours and yet we are here!